The truth is, not every type of wood can be safely used to smoke, process or grill food. This article will explore the pros and cons of each of the most common woods and their uses in smoking products. Smoking foods has been a ritual for centuries. From sausages to fish and cheese, smoking has been around for a long time and has become an integral part of many cultures around the world.
In this article we will explore everything from which woods are safe for smoking foods, how to tell if wood is safe for smoking and which woods are best avoided if you plan on grilling meats or other foods using these woods.
What Is Smoking?
The process of cooking with wood as the source heat is smoking. Smoking is the drying or preserving of food with smoke alone, or as an adjunct to heat. Smoking generally involves the application of heat in the form of smoke to help preserve food.
The food is often placed in a cedar box and the cedar is soaked in a liquid such as rum or molasses to give the food an extra sweet flavor. The food is then placed in the cedar box with the liquid and spices and left to dry.
Over time, the cedar imparts a unique flavor onto the food that is especially delicious when used to cook meats like bacon. Smokers can be used to dry fruits like jerky or vegetables.
Which Woods Are Safe for Smoking?
There are certain woods that are safe for smoking foods, while others are not. This is due to the chemical properties of the wood and the amount of water in the wood. There are also several types of wood that may be safe for smoking, but not for grilling due to the amount of smoke produced during grilling.
The most common types of wood used for smoking include:
– Oak – The most common wood used for smoking. Oak wood produces a mild, sweet flavor which is popular for making BBQ products like meat or fish.
– Hickory – Another common wood used for smoking. Hickory produces a strong flavor that is popular for BBQ and pork products.
– Apple – This fruit is used to make spirits like whiskey, but it is safe for smoking foods as well. Apple is mild in flavor and produces a sweet, subtle taste that is perfect for making apple brandy.
– Cherry – Cherry is used to make whiskey and other spirits, but it is safe for smoking foods as well. Cherry is popular for making cherry brandy which can be used to make liqueurs.
– Peach – Peach is mild in flavor and produces a sweet, subtle taste that is perfect for making peach brandy.
How to Tell if Wood is Safe for Smoking?
Before purchasing a smoking wood for your next BBQ or smoking session, you will want to make sure that the wood you choose is safe for smoking. There are various ways to test a wood to see if it is safe for smoking foods.
– Pour water over the wood and examine the water for color and clarity. Dark, murky water or water with a cloudy appearance means the wood is not safe for smoking.
– Smell the wood. The wood should have a pleasant smell and not have a strong scent of chemicals.
– Cut a small piece of the wood and place it in a glass of water. The wood should not cause the water to become turbid.
– Place the wood in direct sunlight and make sure it does not cause the water to become discolored.
The Bad News About Smoker Woods
While most of the woods are safe for smoking, some may not be ideal. For example, cherry wood is used to make cherry brandy and peach wood is used to make peach brandy. These woods produce a high amount of benzaldehyde which is toxic and can cause cancer.
Many of the other woods are also toxic, but have such a low amount of chemical in them that they are safe to use. The smoking wood list above contains only the most popular woods used for smoking foods. For a more detailed list, you can consult the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) guide on which smoking woods may be used safely.
The Good News About Smoker Woods
Due to the high demand for the rich, flavorful flavors produced by smoking foods, many people are worried that certain woods are not safe for smoking. However, many of the most popular smoking woods are actually safe for use in a smoker or grill.
For example, apple wood has a distinct smell that is appealing to many people. Apple wood produces a mild, sweet flavor that is ideal for cooking with. Likewise, cherry wood produces a subtle, sweet flavor that is ideal for making cherry brandy or liqueurs. All of these popular smoking woods are safe for use in a smoker or grill.
If you are looking for a wood for smoking foods, there are many that are safe for smoking and produce great flavors. Apple wood is popular for making apple brandy and bourbon. Peach wood is mild in flavor and produces a sweet, subtle taste that is perfect for making peach brandy. Sweet cherry wood produces a sweet cherry flavor that is popular for making cherry brandy.
Cherry wood produces a subtle flavor that is ideal for making cherry brandy or liqueur. Many other types of wood can be safely used in smokers and grills as well, so don’t let the news about unsafe woods deter you from enjoying great foods with your smoker.
Smoking foods has been a ritual for centuries. From sausages to fish and cheese, smoking has been around for a long time and has become an integral part of many cultures around the world. In this article we will explore everything from which woods are safe for smoking foods, how to tell if wood is safe for smoking and which woods are best avoided if you plan on grilling meats or other foods using these woods.